Saturday, June 11, 2011

being born!

I just found a poem I wrote soon after Xir's birth. It is chillingly honest. I was really hurting at the time, so thrown by the direction my life had taken, so unprepared for the reality of motherhood in isolation.

When I remember that time, all I feel is an overwhelming gratitude that all of that anger somehow resolved itself without anyone getting mauled! There were years when anger was my primary motivating force. I suppose most of it arose from the tension between my very stringent expectations of myself and the reality of who I was. These days, though I am constantly at work on ways of blooming, I find strength in the truth of what I am rather than punishing myself for all I am not. It sure frees up a lot of time. And a lot of love.

Being Born!

Before we left the desert, where the hammock hung---there---strung
Between the silvered drought-dead locust and the lush singleleaf ash—
Those first warm days of spring I’d rock my worldnew baby boy there,
Watching through a sketch of leaves the nest-building begin.

A mourning dove was nesting in the ash’s head-high crook
So diligent and patient as she waited through the hours—
She could fly! Yet she refrained! How my hurt heart learned to hate her
As I struck out, angry, lost, across the hills.

She had wings! Yet she refrained! She remained there, resolutely,
untouched by the ambivalence that raged always in me.
I was beating at the cage. She was beatific, unconflicted,
motherhood her paramount and perfect-met concern.

How I envied her her patience. How I hated her for staying.
How I raged, and walked, and rocked, and surged, and paced the desert ground.

Then one of those horrid days, when if mothers could, I’d quit,
I soothed my screaming baby in the hammock’s lilting arc
And gazing dull-eyed over out of habit at her nest
Saw her hatchlings—born! bedraggled! quick with life!

She was my ally after all. I turned away. My vision blurred
to see the nest builder succeed: it was so terrible and grand.
I held my son to see the ones who—being born!—
Did what he’d done
But he slept, sweet-heavy, safe, between my arms.

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